Matthews signs Blazers’ offer sheet
The Portland Trail Blazers are going hard after Wesley Matthews.
The Utah Jazz guard signed a restricted free agent offer sheet with the Blazers on Saturday afternoon, Portland president Larry Miller said.
The deal is worth $34 million for five years, with a loaded up-front payment of $9.2 million.
Utah will have seven days to match the offer, which takes up all of the Blazers’ $5.7 million mid-level exception.
Matthews’ agent, Lance Young, confirmed about 2:15 p.m. Saturday that Portland was planning to make an official offer to the second-year guard out of Marquette.
By 3:46 p.m., the deal was done.
“Signing offer sheet today,” Young said in a text message.
Matthews addresses Portland’s long-stated desire to improve the team’s outside shooting, and provides a defensive-minded reliable backup at the shooting guard and small forward positions.
However, if Matthews becomes a Blazer, it could make second-year guard Rudy Fernandez expendable.
Last summer, Portland offered Utah forward Paul Millsap a “toxic” four-year deal worth $32 million. The Jazz matched the offer, though.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Matthews was not drafted in 2009. But he bounced back to average 9.4 points while shooting 48.3 percent from the field during his rookie season with the Jazz.
Matthews started 48 regular-season games while playing in all 82 under Utah coach Jerry Sloan, who is notoriously hard on rookies. Matthews then excelled in the playoffs, starting all 10 of Utah’s playoff games while averaging 13.2 points and 4.4 rebounds.
The Blazers made initial contact with Matthews July 1, shortly after the window opened for teams to speak with free agents.
Matthews then traveled to Portland on Thursday to meet with the Blazers, which was first reported by The Columbian.